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My @#$%! back went out!!

April 23, 2013

Is there anything sadder than a middle-aged man who has just thrown his back out? Too young to die, but just old enough to feel truly sorry for himself.

Its happened before. This grand mal seizure that sweeps across the back of my hips. I can control it through exercise, but about every 8 years or so, I get in a head space where my body is working fine on its own and I don’t even realize that a skipped core muscle workout has turned into 3 – 5 – 10 skipped workouts, followed by a Saturday night double-header movie slumped on the couch with the cats, and bam – I am an old man who can’t put on his own socks!

The first time it happened I was 14. I took a particularly nasty twisting fall at hockey camp and I was laid out for a week.

The last time was about 10 years ago when I suddenly discovered that I couldn’t get up off the couch.  

What you discover when this happens is that the over-the-counter pain pills for backs do almost nothing. At least they do almost nothing for me – except upset my stomach a bit. Pot helps a bit better, chills you out, helps you relax up to a certain point, but I hate being high all day. And if you do forget and try to move when you are high, the pain is twice as intense because all your nerves are primed. I made that mistake on Sunday and had an electric bullet blast up my back – I nearly passed out!

My doctor encourages me not to use prescription pain killers – for fear of masking too much the pain, and then I would really screw up my back by thinking I could do more than I could. That’s what I get for having a Chinese doctor who practices both Eastern and Western medicine. Screw that! Get me John F. Kennedy’s doctor. I want horse tranquilizers.

Evolution has not caught up with the back. This upright stance of ours puts an enormous amount of pressure on our lower spine, and back injuries continue to be one of the biggest health problems our society has. Even more so now, as obesity rates continue to climb.

 Count yourself lucky if your back treats you well. Don’t take it for granted – simple core exercises will do wonders for maintaining your back health.

My sympathy for those whose backs are disagreeable. For so much of life that is good is about movement.

Immobility, is an insult to the human spirit.

Even if it is only for a few days.

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